Oklahoma gets festivus pole; Mark Martin nixes it in Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Oklahoma gets festivus pole; Mark Martin nixes it in Arkansas

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 at 10:20 AM

click to enlarge WIN SOME, LOSE SOME: Chaz Stephens has gotten approval for festivus pole in Oklahoma, but not Arkansas.
  • WIN SOME, LOSE SOME: Chaz Stephens has gotten approval for festivus pole in Oklahoma, but not Arkansas.
A Florida gadfly has won permission to put a festivus pole celebrating gay rights in the Oklahoma state Capitol.

Same story, by the Associated Press, notes that Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin has denied request to erect such a pole in Arkansas.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office denied the request in a Dec. 4 letter that cited several problems with the application, including failure to comply with trademark law and a lack of specifics on how the pole would be anchored

Chaz Stephens of Jupiter, Fla., has been waging the festivus battle with some success around the country, targeting states that happen to have records of discrimination against gay people and a demonstrated disrespect for separation of church and state.

Stephens might note that Mark Martin was much friendlier to a festivus pole request in 2009, when a permit was sought by a Republican blogger who decided not to go through with the idea.

Chaz Stephens' pitch for money for the project hasn't ginned up much support, but if you're so inclined .... 


It's from Susan Carter, the Capitol scheduler. They lawyered him to death, with a stack of nitpicky considerations. Oklahoma seemed to take the view a pole is a pole, bring it on. An excerpt of the Arkansas roadblock, to give you an idea of how bureaucratic a good Republican can be:

The Office reserves the right to review entirely a new application, and further reserves the right to amend this letter should additional issues be identified prior to the delivery of a letter approving the Temporary Display requested.

A new application should address these issues, and specifically include proof of having a registered agent within the State of Arkansas on the appropriate basis (based upon at least one of the three statutes cited above). Any new application should also include a completed form, substantially similar to the form included herein, consenting to venue, personal jurisdiction, and the application of Arkansas substantive law to the Temporary Display, associated application and Sponsor's Statement. Any new application should also address the issues of potential trademark problems and potential trade dress problems, such as showing proof of licensing from the federal trademark holder for "Festivus Pole,"®, including the federal trademark symbol as part of the application (if applicant is authorized to do so by the trademark holder) or otherwise addressing those issues. Most importantly, the application must include a complete description of the method of assuring the safety of the Temporary Display and those who may visit (both in person and in vehicle) the Temporary Display, given its location on the Capitol Grounds. 

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